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Kate MacCord & Lucie Laplane
KLI Colloquia
From Stemness Identity in Cancers to Germline Identity in Metazoans
Kate MACCORD (Marine Biol. Lab, Woods Hole) & Lucie LAPLANE (Université Paris 1)
2019-12-03 17:00 - 2019-12-03 18:30
Organized by KLI

Topic description / abstract:

Stem cells regroup a diversity of cells raising the question of what it is exactly that make them be stem cells. To address this question, we will analyse stemness, the defining properties of stem cells. We will first show that stemness can be four different types of property (a categorical, a dispositional, a relational, or a systemic property) depending on the stem cell type. Then we will show how this philosophical characterization of stemness matters for science and medicine with the concrete example of cancer treatment.
In the second part of our paired talk, we apply Lucie’s ontology of stemness to the problem of germline identity in Metazoans in order to address the question: how does a cell become a germ cell? We begin with an overview of how germline identity and specification are conceived of within metazoans, and explore the application of the stemness ontology through the example of C. elegans.
Biographical note:
Lucie Laplane is permanent researcher at CNRS, at the Institut d’Histoire et philosophie des Science et des techniques (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne). She also works in a unit of biology (“Normal and Malignant Hematopoiesis”) at Gustave Roussy Cancer Center. She is a philosopher, with a background in biology (Master 2 in Stem Cell Biology). She works on stem cells and cancer, in particular on the concepts of cancer stem cells, clonal evolution, and tumor microenvironment.

Kate Maccord is the Program Administrator and McDonnell Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole (MA) where she runs the McDonnell Initiative, which brings historians and philosophers of science into collaboration with life scientists in order to transform the research of both fields. Kate’s research in history and philosophy of science aims to uncover historically entrenched assumptions in current science and explore the repercussions of these assumptions. Her goal is to use history and philosophy of science to transform and accelerate scientific research. Kate focuses especially on germline research and human genome editing.